Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Table time for some classics

Players: James, Soren, Jeroen, Jon, Michel, Gareth, Paul, Woody, Philip, Andy and Barrie.

Thurn and Taxis (thanks James)

Been a while since we last played this, and given the current move towards getting some older classics to the table it felt time for a revival. Soren, Jeroen and myself as early arrivals thought we could get sorted in the 45 minute timeframe before others arrived.. of course as soon as we started some others arrived... but they seemed happy to play some San Juan so we were able to get the game in.  T&T is a great gateway game that suffers from a horrendus choice of theme... really... it's a hard sell to have a game with a title based on the company that formed the german postal system played on what is a pretty drab board centred around mostly medieval centres in Germany.  Not quite Ticket to Ride... or King of Tokyo when trying to encourage new players... 

Which is a shame as the game on top of all of this is great... and with a better theme would probably be sitting up there with the other popular gateways games and selling 10x the number of copies...

So, back to the session report... Soren (somehow) had never played before, but picked it up quickly, and began by going for bonus's based around the completion of regions. Jeroen was after the Lodz-Pilson route while I was trying to cover the one-in-each-region bonus attracted by mainly the higher value of the bonus points for this objective, rather than any long-term strategic thinking (ooh, look, shiney things...)

At halfway things looked close, although Jeroen seemed to be lagging behind. I had picked upto the 5 wagon while Soren/Jeroen were still on 4, so seemed to have the upper hand. Soren though was close to getting all 9 regions sorted while I'm not sure what Jeroen was trying but I'm sure he had some kind of plan in mind... probably... perhaps... he was getting a lot of pleasure out of flushing and changing all 6 cards each turn though :)

Towards the end though things started to get confortable for me as I'd completed several region bonus's and had the most wagons. All I needed was the Lotz-Pilsen route to come up for the 9 region bonus and once they did I was able to bring the game to a close by using all my route markers. The final scores weren't that close but Soren pipped Jeroen to a close 2nd place.

Great game, and even taking into account time to teach a new player we had the thing done and dusted inside 50 minutes. Each time I play this I feel like it's a really good game, but it never seems to get the love it deserves which I can only put down to theme... seriously, change this to something flash and I think it'd launch the game to a new level. Anyone ?

San Juan (thanks Jon)

Thurn & Taxis was being played on another table, so there was time for another mid-length game – and San Juan fitted the bill perfectly. This contained the much-coveted expansion cards, which give a really nice twist on this already excellent classic. As well as diluting the deck slightly (making a production strategy slightly less powerful), it also provides several new ways to score points, without adding any complexity to the base game. The event cards weren’t used in this game.

Jon saved up to put down an early Library, which quickly put him 2 buildings behind Michel, whose early goldmine turned out to be more of a tin mine. Gareth got some production buildings going quite early, and the later addition of the Harbour (put a card under it each time you make a trade) proved to be a nice little point-earner.

In the mid-game, Michel played a Quarry, which helped him with his final few builds, whilst Jon laid down the Bank (put as many cards from your hand under it, once in the game, for 1 point each). Although it meant foregoing trading for a couple of turns, Jon eventually picked the trader role, and used his Library ability to trade 3 goods in a turn. Combined with his Market, this gave him 8 cards which were quickly deposited into the Bank.

Gareth had saved up the 7 cards necessary to buy the Cathedral (score 4-3-2-1 for each other players’ 6-point buildings), but unfortunately he failed to score many points from it as only Jon had played a 6-point building.

Michel built his final building to end the game, and when the final scores were counted, Jon had pulled away from the others, with his Guild Hall and Bank doing the most damage.

This is definitely a game worthy of much more table time – especially with the new expansion cards.

Jon 35; Michel 27; Gareth 24

Chinatown (thanks Jon)

5 players and an i-Pad timer make for a great Chinatown experience. With each trading phase limited to 5 minutes, it really focussed everyone’s minds, although the end of each period often left trades unfulfilled.
For the first 2 rounds there was little building being done. In the third round, Jon and James were in strong negotiations to swap ownership of several lots in one district which would give James a nice 6-lot area, and Jon a 5-lot area. James was playing hardball, which gave Paul the opportunity to step in and sell Jon 2 of his own lots, giving him a 5-lot area and denying James anything worthwhile. The USP for this sale was “Not only do you get what you want, but you screw James over as well.” Paul knows which buttons to push….

Woody was going about his business in his usual understated fashion – moaning regularly at his lack of good lots or tiles, but eventually putting down some extremely lucrative businesses, and quietly doing some profitable trading.

Soren had spent almost the entire game trying to a 6-lot area (he had the tiles quite early on), and eventually made a deal with Jon in the last round to get what he wanted.

When the dust had settled (and James had stopped trying to negotiate trades outside of the negotiation phase) the money was totalled, and Woody’s quiet but steady accumulation of wealth had proved enough to have him crowned King of Chinatown.

Score: Woody 780, Soren 720, Jon 650, Paul 610, James 490

Paris Connection (thanks Jon)

Soren had played the old SNCF version, and Woody not at all, but the rules are pretty minimal so t
he game was soon underway. Soren spent his first 2 turns driving the red and yellow companies into the countryside, which left the other players scratching their heads and wondering if he had some uber-strategy up his sleeve (answer: probably not…)

The purple company soon increased its value, and Paul was keen to progress Brown too, until Jon helpfully sabotaged it around Normandy. Woody took the Blue company south towards Marseilles, but it ceased expanding well before it reached such a southerly destination. The Black company failed to exit Paris, despite Paul picking up some late stocks in the vain hope that it would suddenly spring out towards the profitable eastern side.

The trick of this game seems to be managing to pick up the maximum allowed stocks (12 in a 5-player game) but this is easier said than done, if you don’t want to end up with some duff stocks at the end. Jon had managed his stock acquisition the best of all the players, in what turned out to be a close game.

Scores: Jon 96, James 88, Paul 87, Soren 81, Woody 58

Carcassonne: the City (thanks Jon)

Woody had exited, so the remaining 4 players chose an older game to finish off the evening – namely the eye-candy that is Carcassonne: the City.
There are a couple more ways to score points in this version, as opposed to vanilla Carc, but with a first play, it’s not immediately obvious what to try to focus on. Having said that, it’s quite situational, so choices on each turn are fairly limited.
There is an equivalent scoring to the base game’s ‘farmers’, which scored well for Paul, but also placing guards on the walls at judicious spots can lead to some healthy points.
The game finished with the walls nearly enclosing the city soon into the third stack of tiles, and the final scores were incredibly close, with Soren and Jon sharing first place.
James remarked that he had no idea how he had scored so many points (maybe we had all lapped him on the score track?!) and Paul stated that he would happily play it again straight away (if it hadn’t been 11.20pm!) It sounds like it might make a reappearance in the not too distant future in that case…

Score: Jon 73, Soren 73, James 71, Paul 68 

Age of Industry (thanks Philip)

First game for all three of us. Barrie and I had at least played Brass befo
re, while Andy was new to the whole concept, and- as luck would have it- going first. After a brief consultation he drew two more cards and developed his factories. 

I placed a cotton mill and railroad over in the North East, Barrie drew two cards and developed his factories, and Andy drew two cards and developed his factories. I placed a port and shipped, paying back my loan. I think Barrie now placed a cotton mill and railroad in the South West. Andy placed a Coal Mine in Belgium and a railroad to the Ruhr. I placed a steelworks in the Ruhr and developed my factories.

Andy was able to build a factory in the Ruhr and sell to Belgium. I managed to build a factory in Hannover and sell to Holland, Barrie sold his cotton in France- twice I think. There now developed three networks of rails and industries. In the North-West Andy and I had a network based round the Ruhr. In the North-East Andy and I had another network based around Berlin- which reached as far south as Bohemia. In the South was Barrie's own little network stretching from France to Munich. 

Before the game began Barrie had been asking about walling a region of the board off from the other players and he was prety close to doing it, but of course the flaw with that plan is it only works against industry cards. I was able to drop a factory in Munich with a region card, spoiling Barrie's plans for the distant market in Austria. Not long after that the three networks became connected and we ran out of coal (on the board). 

Fortunately Andy swiftly overbuilt his own coal mines to replenish the supply. Barrie and Andy developed past their level 1 ports but I used mine- in the second case in conjunction with Andy. The Kiel distant market was no demand so there wasn't much building in Kiel or Hamburg for most of the game.

Eventually Andy's level 3 mines were exhausted, and the coal display, and Barrie overbuilt my coal mine in Bohemia. A little later I overbuilt his in France so honours were even. I was able to build and flip all my factories while Barrie and Andy had a couple unbuilt. The game ended fairly swiftly after the deck ran out, with me passing in order to discard my last two cards and stop the others earning more points.

End game scoring is a bit tedious with the railways, but eventual scores were Barrie 38 Andy 45 Me 51 (I think).

Good game, I like the flow of it better than Brass I think. Can't wait to try out the other maps (Minnesota/Japan was bundled into my copy at purchase)!

The other game to get an airing was Ticket To Ride: Nordic Countries, which Jeroen used as an escape route North from Paris, although it remains writeupless.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

"It's been far too long..."

Players Philip, Gareth I, Gareth II, Jeroen, Barrie, Soren, Amanda, James, Dan, Jon and Paul.

The outstanding game of the evening was a session of Saboteur right at the end of the evening, which hasn't been done for far too many Wednesdays, where the 'main' games of the evening all ran their course and finished at roughly the same time to allow for a large group game.  Lots of hidden identity, false accusations  bluffing and a lot of fun it was too (even Gareth who defeated the odds by randomly being selected as a saboteur for all three hands seemed to enjoy it).

Terra Mystica (thanks Philip)

Jeroen was going first and picked the Halflings. Gareth picked the Auren and I picked the Giants- I know they have a bad reputation but I have to play them some time and this looked a pretty good opportunity- Stronghold scoring on first round, guaranteed +1 temporary shipping, no neighbours on the terrain tile and good chances of power gain from the Auren.

Our initial placement had no settlements next to each other- I made sure I took spaces which were 1 shipping away from other red spaces (for those of you who have a map, I took D7 and G2). Gareth had exactly the same policy (taking C3 and G3). Jeroen was doing his own thing on the Northern continent.

As said I took +1 temporary Shipping. Gareth took the Priest, don't remember what Jeroen took. Gareth took the first opportunity to upgrade his shipping, so I anticipated his next move by placing a dwelling next to it (D6). From then on the Auren and the Giants were constantly gaining power from each other, with the Halflings out of the loop.

The Halflings didn't help themselves by rushing their stronghold- I did point out that the 5 VPs for it on that turn was less than the 6 Vps they would get for it if they waited for the turn with the Spade bonus. I also rushed my stronghold, but thats the Giants for you.

Matters proceeded quite efficiently- Gareth built 3 towns and I built 2 (with the help of a couple of bridges) and Jeroen 1 I think. I ended upgrading my Spade rate a couple of times, I think Gareth also upgraded his on the final turn for the points. Suprisingly Jeroen's Halflings didn't uprade their spade rate, despite the discount.

I was eventually able to connect all my structures through Shippping 2 and a judicious placement on the desert tile at the eastern tip of the central continent (E8). Gareth also connected all his structures through shipping, and he built more than me. Jeroen had fewer structures- poor access to power hurting him. 

Gareth of course motored up the cult tracks, easily scoring highest there too. I scored second most there, the halflings not even bothering with some tracks. Eventual score was something like Auren 138 Giants 101 Halflings 76 (The Giants score is accurate, the others are guesses).

On The Underground

James had played this elsewhere recently and decided it was good enough to make the purchase, so on that basis found it easy to tempt a table of London sightseers to chase round the classic map of the underground for 90 minutes. 

It seemed to have some similarities to other route building games, with the twist that there is a passenger who moves each turn, whose route can be manipulated and this generates some points along the way. In James' previous game, he won by focussing on this passenger, which was information he gallantly volunteered to give the rest of the players a chance. 

Paul played his first few turns using BOTH of his route colours - the obvious thing to do, so he thought. Then he looked round and saw that no one else had touched their second colour and his resolve was tested (well, it wasn't really because he couldn't take his moves back, but it did make him think twice). Amanda and James were snaking with long routes and it seemed after a while that both might get some nice extra points by forming a big loop, so some tactical blocking was employed and both plans came to naught. Dan raking in some points by hitting the terminuses (thanks to James for this new word) and Jon seemed to be focussing his initial efforts on the west, until his second line came out in the east.

At the end of the game it was pretty close and it seemed as though the passenger movement wasn't necessarily the game winner, but a combination of factors.

Scores: Amanda 34, Paul 34 (joint winners - the rules said that there was no tie break), Dan 32, Jon 32, James 31

High Society 

After On the Underground  Amanda left and the remaining players decided to play a classic filler, while waiting for other games to finish to play something together. Everyone knew High Society  although Paul needed to dredge it from his memory banks. He was bidding for the starting cards, whilst everyone else were only laying money on the table to push his bids up. It worked, and he had taken the 7 and a '2x' in the first two cards. At that point James then reminded him that 'the player with the lowest money at the end loses automatically, you do know that Paul, don't you?' So Jon kindly took the negative card, Dan got something  but the cards to mark the end of the game came fairly thickly, and the others started bidding high. Dan got to a stage where he'd got some cards of some value, but needed to go for broke in order to take the lead. He went for it, spent all his cash and went broke, meaning that everyone else only had to keep one money card to stay in the game and it was highest number wins. Paul's earlier efforts paid off nicely and he managed to keep ahead of James and Jon.

Scores: Paul 26, James 14, Jon 14, Dan 24 (but the least money so he lost)

Saboteur (thanks Jon - and thanks for the spelling lesson)

It was just like the old days - the end of the evening and 8 IBG'ers staying around for a few fun rounds of gold-hunting dwarf adventure.

3 rounds were played. The first was quite close, but the good guys got there in the end. This was despite Barrie having a peek at 2 of the destination tiles, to only then build a path straight to a piece of coal. This would normally be perceived as the work of a saboteur, but in fact turned out to be the work of a dwarf with the memory of a goldfish.

The second round was a whitewash. The good dwarfs very quickly built a path straight to the gold, before any of the saboteurs could intervene. Gareth (one of the saboteurs) showed his cards declaring "I had nothing useful to play". This was met with hoots of derision as his hand revealed 2 broken tools, a dead end and a rockfall - pretty much the best hand that a saboteur could possibly hope to have.

The third round was incredibly tight. James had joined the saboteurs this time and with some judicious tool-breaking and rockfalling, it looked as if the bad guys had succeeded. Only for Soren to pull a great path card out of nowhere, and with all 3 saboteurs amazingly having no evil cards to play, it was left to Paul to lay the triumphant final path card.

Loads of fun - it's been far too long....

Scores: Dan 8, Gareth II 7, Paul 7, James 4, Soren 4, Jon 3, Barrie 2, Gareth 0

And so the evening drew to a lively close with mined gold being dished out and much debate about the strategy that each team should have played. Also played this evening were In the Year of the Dragon and an unrecognisable filler at the start of the evening, although both go without a writeup so will very soon become distant memories. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

And then there were nine

So from last week when the dizzy heights of 17 boardgamed with not many regulars, this week a lot of regulars turned up but there were only nine. Ever get the feeling that the universe is trying to tell you something guys?? Welcome to Jen who isn't so local, but would be welcome back any time she's in the area on a Wednesday (as, for that matter, would anyone).

Players: Paul, Jon, Woody, James, Neil, Michel, Philip, Barry, Jen

St Malo

Paul was lured into playing because he was told that there was drawing involved - not untrue, but not what he expected - drawing the pieces and keeping score on a wipeable board. So some kind of twist on a game where players roll die (yahtzee style) and draw bits on a board to construct a city to give the most points. All players have a grid which signifies the spaces available to populate with different types of people, crates, bits of wall, churches and so on. The games ends when someone fills their city up completely and the highest score wins. Oh, and pirates might come and take things from you if you haven't built sufficient defences, although in our game, every time they came they were successfully repelled by everyone, so it didn't change much. I don't recall too much about the game other than the fact that Woody was gunning for an early finish and I can't remember if it was because he was in with a shout of winning, or because he wanted it to end. Either way, he was successful in filling everything up first, but James took the prize. 

My verdict - quite a fun way to pass time, but then so is almost every game that we play on a Wednesday and I'm not sure if this has anything unique enough to draw me back when such other goodies are on offer.

Scores: James 42, Paul 35, Woody 34, Neil 26

Robber Knights (thanks Jon)

Time for a quick filler at the beginning of the evening, so Philip and Michel joined Jon for this tile-laying Queen Games offering. 
Players take turns to lay tiles that contain villages, towns and castles, in a variety of landscapes. When a castle is laid, there's the option of also laying down up to 5 knights (coloured discs) that can then be distributed othoganally on adjacent tiles, according to what landscape is on them. At the end of the game, players score tiles if they have a knight on top of the stack on that tile. You have the option to lay between 1-3 tiles per turn, which means that players do not all finish on the same turn.
Philip chose to lay the maximum number of tiles most turns, and finished a couple of turns ahead of the other two. He also played several knights on certain tiles, effectively stopping them from being stolen.
Michel ran out of knights before Jon, which meant that Jon could place his last few knights without fear of the tiles being stolen. This allowed Jon to just creep ahead of the other 2 for the victory. This is a nice inoffensive game with enough tactical decisions to keep it interesting - which is a good description of most things that come with the Queen Games label!

Scores: Jon 28, Philip 23, Michel 20

Die Speicherstadt (thanks Neil)

So off we went to Hamburg, me, James and that French fellah Michel. I’d been there most recently, last September to be precise, and so got to go first… we each played three rounds when James suddenly realised the tension of his previous game wasn't being seen, as indeed was the rule about the cost of cards. Start again.

I was still first but this time money was tight-er. There’s a good auction mechanism, four cards are available and each player has three bids which he places one turn at a time. Price is then determined by the number of bids per card, the latter the bid the cheaper you might get your desired card.
So, James went after firefighters and merchants early on, Michel picked up the Warehouse and a Counting Office and I went for a couple of contracts. After the first three rounds of cards there’s a fire in the warehouses and unless you have some firefighters you lose points, Michel lost points. In the second round/season ships were available with three coloured cubes that are required to complete your contracts. The others picked up contracts and I seemed to have a series of cheap cards picking up firefighters, a Counting Office and a third contract. The second fire saw James collect a couple of points, and Michel lost points.

Round three saw the Bank come out, useful additional cash, it was mine, all mine! Ships were becoming available now with their various goods cubes. I managed to complete two of my four contracts. James started going for more firefighters, and both he and Michel collected goods from more ships. The third fire… you guessed it, James gained points and Michel lost points.
The final round. James picked up St Michaelis and the Chamber of Commerce, Michel picked up the Port, and I managed to finish my last two contracts. More fire, this time I collected the points but Michel still lost out here; it had cost him ten points across the four rounds, quite a swing. Final scoring wasn’t that close, my contracts totalled 35 points alone. 

Obviously winning makes it enjoyable but I have to say this was a really good game. I liked the auction process, very interestingly thought through. And whist Feld is hardly fantastic when it comes to themes I think this one works pretty well. The expansion apparently adds much more to the game too, will be making sure Woody gets one, there are even REAL coins!!

Scores; Neil 48, James 38, Michel 21

Coup (thanks Neil)

Following that we decided to have a quick round of Coup whilst the Seasonal Blokes finished their game. We quickly card sleeved the cards and some seven hands later and we gave up the wait! Mind you those were cracking games… I won the first three and decided I was invincible… only for James to win the next three hands. Surely it was Michel’s turn to win? Absolutement Non! And I took the decider. Hurrah!!

Terra Mystica (thanks Philip)

Game night again and I was really keen to play Terra Mystica, although the numbers made this a little tricky (9 people). We eventually settled on 3 groups of 3-and then one of the 3 people who had agreed to play Terra Mystica pulled out. Fortunately a visitor from Leeds (Jen) was willing to try the game for the first time.

I decided to go with the 3-player set up in the rulebook. I really wanted to try Alchemists and Barrie had played Witches last week, so he took Nomads and Jen played as Witches. Barrie was randomly selected as going first. 

Barrie decided not to build his Stronghold on turn 1 but instead to build a Temple and take the Water 1 favour. Jen and I both went straight to strongholds and I began terraforming and upgraded my spade rate.

In the second round I think Barrie built the Sanctuary and took Air 1, while Jen and I built Temples, taking Air 2 because of the worker bonus due that round. I upgraded my Spade rate again, in time for the bonus points for Spades coming up in the third round.

I spent the third round busily turning the Eastern and Central continents into Swamp- the Eastern Continent is well suited to this being 50% Swamp, Farmland and Lakes hexes, all of which form one contiguous block. I finished my first town at this point, taking a couple of workers to better aid the digging. Meanwhile Jen and Barrie were building more temples- Jen picked up Water 1 and Barrie Earth 1. I was liberally converting points into money but seemed to be fairly level with the others at this stage. Barrie was high up the Earth cult and earned money from the round end bonus as a result.

I think Barrie built his Stronghold in the Fourth Round. He was not very agressive with the Sandstorm, politely leaving me a Swamp space I had terraformed earlier but never got around to building on. There was a fair amount of competition on the cult tracks and my 2nd town went to boosting my position there. Barrie and Jen built towns too, Jen one and Barrie two. There were lots of bonus points scored in rounds 4 and 6 for building trading posts- Barrie and Jen of course getting double because of Water 1. 

I reached the top of the Air track by the end of round 4 and the top of the Fire track (hotly pursued by Barrie) at the end of round 5. Barrie was top of the Earth track and Jen top of the Water track. None of us were interested in Shipping, except at the end of the game for some cheap VPs (which I eschewed since 1 Priest and 4 gold for 2 Vps is actually a net loss for the Alchemists!). So connected area had to be by land or bridge. In the end both Barrie and I had 9 connected buildings, Barrie's distributed between Central, Southern and Eastern continents and linked with bridges and mine all in the Central continent. Jen had less connected buildings, the penalty for the Witch stronghold ability.

I had quite a bit of material left over at game end, which was pretty wasteful- I mean Alchemists are meant to hoard money but extra workers and priests is just silly. Jen and Barrie were more efficient- and they deserved their joint victory on about 110 to my 100.

As Barrie pointed out, the three player game isn't as tight as the four-player and I probably won't be insisting on playing it next week (while still being keen on 4 or 5 player if we have the numbers). Those point scoring favours- Water 1, Earth 1, Air 1, are pretty good and the Temple first strategy for the Nomads seemed to work well. The board certainly looked quite different from last week, if only because of the large areas of swamp!

The Boss (thanks Neil)

At the end of the evening there was just time for a three-round paired-up card-game of The Boss with Paul’s newly expanded version. With three ‘old-hands’ and three ‘apprentices’ the pairs fell naturally into Woody and Jon, James and Michel, Paul and me. Whilst open discussions were allowable hidden/secret ones weren’t. 

The game is all about betting on the value of the hidden card based on what remains of the options in your hands. There are 8 or 9 ‘suits/colours’ which are designated as US cities. By design, good fortune or pure luck both Paul and I went for an early bluff [Paul - it was 100% luck] and then bet latterly on the real deals. James and Michel tried some French discussions which confused themselves more than the rest of us. Woody’s final hand signals to Jon were witnessed by all and still misinterpreted. Round one to Paul and I.
In the second round everyone was a little more certain about their actions although by the end it looked pretty obvious what all the hidden cards were. I think Jon and Woody, with a mass of cubes/bets still to be laid actually missed an opportunity here, but I stuck by my gun, literally and stymied James gamble on the ‘bonus’ city card of Chicago. Paul and I took an even bigger lead into the third and final round.
With the other gangstars playing for second place to be honest the third round came and went. We picked up enough to ensure victory and finally Woody and Jon got it together to win a potful of points and grab second place. The Boss was Paul, but at least he’d found a useful heavy!!

Scores Paul/Neil 16, Woody/Jon 15, James/Michel 13

Jon, Woody and Paul also enjoyed a game of Seasons.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Limericks and Haikus

Boardgamers: Paul, Gareth, Gareth II, Dan, Dan II, Philip, Barrie, Barry, Sean, Andy, Scott, Charlotte, Tom, Ravi, Michel, Hannah and Tonio

On Wed last, games were played at the London Apprentice
And inspired by Dan's rhymes (to which we do not do justice)
The gamers whispered 'by George, that's perverse'
'These writeups are written in very very bad verse'
'Let's sue these poor poets for grievous malpractice'

St Petersburg

There once was a game called St Petes
Played by Gareth and Barrie, it reeks
So many nobles, maybe conspiratory
Or maybe just wise use of the Observatory?
Probly, 'cos no one would say that they're cheats ;)

Scores: Gareth 112, Barrie 105, Paul 94 and Hannah 61


In Alhambra, a gamed themed on old Spanish gardens
Did Hannah and Paul 'venge those St Petersburg heathens 
From the previous game, retribution abound
They were near the post, with most points to be found
When alas 'time' was called and there was no game ends

Scores: None but Paul was winning when the pub closed!!

Sentinals of the Multiverse (thank you Tom)

1. Villain: La Capitan
Environment: Realm of Dischord
Heroes: Tempest (Ravi), Nightmist (Tom), Freedom Six Tachyon (Dan), Ra (Michel), Freedom Six Absolute Zero (Tonio)

There was a marauding pirate
Whose ship was soon kaput
Her life of derring do
With her erstwhile crew
Ended with lightning up her butt

2. Villain: The Dreamer
Environment: Insula Primalis
Heroes: Unity (Ravi), Chrono-Ranger (Tom), The Scholar (Dan), Redeemer Fanatic (Michel), Absolute Zero (Tonio)

A dreaming child finally awoken
The fate of the heroes had spoken
The child’s progress to be stopped
But, from her mind, monsters popped
And the heroes left beaten and broken

3. Villain: Gloomweaver
Environment: The Final Wasteland
Heroes: Rook City Wraith (Ravi), Argent Adept (Tom), Unity (Dan), Redeemer Fanatic (Michel), The Eternal Haka (Tonio)

Next arose a weaker foe
Although you must be still on your toes
Gloomy driven quite barmy
Abused by Unity’s bot army
Cried “Alack, I must go!”

The Three Commandments (thank you Tom)

Religious decrees
Bad karma for Tonio
No High Priestess, he

I think that Tonio has the scores [and, it sounds like, an eternity of being reincarnated as a dung beetle]

For Sale (thank you Scott)

For Sale, it was played
Many purchases were made
Charlotte did prevail

Scores: Charlotte 57, Scott 53, Tom 46, Ravi 37, Dan2 32 and Andy 31

And now for something a little more prosaic...

Lost Cities the Boardgame

When most people were arriving, a game of Lost Cities the Boardgame was going on, but the writeup went the same way as the fabled cities and was never found.


The writing was on the wall from the start of this game of non-virtual Farmville, as old hand Agricophiles Andy and Scott, who'd wipe the farm yard floor with even seasoned wooden sheep breeders, decided to take on Sean and Charlotte who'd never ventured through a cardboard five bar gate before. Andy won, Scott came second and they both had the common decency not to write up what was probably a one sided drubbing to the newbie farmers, or indeed record any scores for posterity. Andy made an attempt to pass this off as him being on a busman's holiday, being a journalist and all, but we know that he is simply too kind hearted and not the kind to gloat.

Terra Mystica (thank you Philip)

Philip, having just purchased the game from Scott (whose copy he had played with 3 or 4 times many
months ago) was eager to try Terra Mystica again, and so was Gareth. Dan and Barrie were new to the game so Philip offered them choice of starting races - Dan took Mermaids and Barrie Witches. Gareth picked Nomads and Philip picked Chaos Magicians as he hadn't tried them yet and thought that they looked interesting.

Intial placement saw Dan and Gareth next to each other and Philip next to Barrie. Luckily the first turn tile was power for red cult spaces and with a combination of the priest starting tile and both red temple favours, Philip was able to gain 8 power. Meanwhile Gareth and Barrie had built their Strongholds and Dan also built a temple. Philip upgraded my Shipping as well.

The next turn saw Philip cross the river to build another Temple - Barrie putting a dwelling down adjacent to Philip with his special power just before Philip built it. This time Philip choose the blue 2 space favour and the silver 2 space favour. This time the turn tile was priests for blue cult spaces and Dan maxed out at 8 for 2 priests. 

The next turn was workers for red spaces and Philip had a quiet turn, mainly upgrading his spade conversion rate while others built towns. 

With an extra 4 workers Philip was able to have a bumper 4th turn, build a new dwelling, a bridge and a Sanctuary to complete his only town- choosing one space on each of the cult tracks and reaching space 10 on the silver track just in time for it to pay out 1 worker for every 2 spaces. 

In turn 5 Philip continued to expand his shipping and spread dwellings, although nowhere near as many as the others who were running out of buildings. Philip thinks it was this turn that we had a bit of controversy because Barrie had forgotten in the previous turn to take a temple favour and he picked the red town-building favour which both Gareth and Dan wanted- Barrie realised his mistake just as Gareth was picking a favour for his temple, and Dan said if he had known there was only one red town-building favour left he would have built a temple on his (immediately preceding turn). We eventually resolved this awkwardly by pretending there were 4 tiles of the relevant favour, allowing everyone to take one.

The final turn was bonus Vps for spade building and Philip upgraded my spades again and turned all his workers into spades. Meanwhile the others were making sure they had most connected buildings- Dan and Gareth tied while Barrie was one building short- he had built the same number of buildings but one was isolated from the rest. Dan complained vociferously that he had run out of priests and thus didn't get any income from his temples in the final turn. However, when we scored the cult tracks Dan earned 20 points, mainly due to all his priests being placed on them- Philip also earned 20 points but then Chaos Magicians are supposed to score high on the cult tracks. Anyway, Dan won with about 80 points and Philip, Gareth and Barrie were in 2nd, 3rd and 4th place respectively with 5 points or so between each player.

Philip's verdict: Fun game, I think if I played Chaos Magicans again I would prioritise income favour tiles intially- I could have taken the red town tile when I built the sanctuary instead of turn 1 and taken another income generating tile instead. Still congratulations to Dan on a solid win for a first time player.